It always puzzles me why so many parents put their kids into the system that they themselves admit was unfulfilling and a waste of time. Nevertheless, even us as anti-school parents were tempted by the allure of the "free" babysitter this year when baby number two arrived and life became more full on. When I asked my son if he was interested in attending school, the answer was a clear and definite "no."
Sensible choice seeing as how he enjoys to learn and discover at his own pace, in natural environments and in an autonomous fashion. Below are 10 reasons why we all decided together that school, at least for the early formative years, is a bad idea:
1. Conformity is valued over individuality, effectively turning children into a uniformed, flock of sheep. Peer pressure creates insecure children who strive to be "normal" and fit in.
2. The system gears you up for a lifetime of obedient compliance in the robotic, work trade. A successful entrepreneur is our goal, which doesn't fit with the values and aims of most school systems.
3. If you want a true critical thinking child then school is possibly the worst idea as it merely teaches children to be critical of those who think. I remember getting the best grades when I simply memorized someone else’s opinions and regurgitated them.
4. Children learn best while they're moving and physically interacting. Classrooms are the anti-thesis to this with long hours spent at desks, sitting on chairs.
5. Everyone learns best when they are passionate about the topic. School forces you to learn a whole range of uninteresting subjects at a superficial level. Learning is adult-led, rather than child-led. Consequently the child learns to become a jack of all trades and master of none. Not good for creating an entrepreneur and certainly not good for creating a love of learning.
Cooperation and natural altruistic behavior are devalued in a competitive system.
6. Bullying occurs often due to forced association rather than true socialization. A bunch of kids the same age are imposed on each other rather than naturally mixing with people of all ages, voluntarily in groups based on shared interests.
7. Standardized testing and lack of outdoor unstructured play time creates anxiety and psychological health issues and can also destroy self-esteem. Furthermore, schools drive for competition encourages anti-social behavior such as cheating. Cooperation and natural altruistic behavior are devalued in a competitive system.
8. Government are implementing free wifi into schools which may have adverse health effects (particularly for females.) Furthermore, standard fluorescent lighting can also have negative health effects for many children include headaches and dizziness.
9. Phonics is all wrong. When we first learn to speak we pick it up from the whole conversation/context, not from breaking exposure up into small increments of sounds. Reading and writing are best learned in the same way. Furthermore most children, boys especially, are not ready to pick up these skills until closer to 7 or 8 years when they will likely pick it up much quicker.
10. Ancient and wise civilizations such as the Spartans kept their young enjoying a free-range childhood with the mother or primary caregiver up until 7 years old as they understood that any formal instruction before such an age was futile. If you investigate you will find that many countries in Europe and Asia have also adopted a later school starting age of around 6-7 years.
So there you have it, my child has chosen to select his own friends from all age groups and not be told when he's and isn’t allowed to converse with them. He's taught how to think, not what to think and encouraged to be curious no matter who/what it questions or contradicts. He's learning from everyday living and experiences.
This isn't a luxurious choice we've made but one of sacrifice and hard work with little spare time or money left over. But it's a choice we made because we truly believe it's life-changing for our kids.